Rocco Scali and Thomas LaMarca: The Cutting Den

The small barber shop inside the Clark St. station has been patronized by many famous customers throughout its long, rich history.

The Cutting Den is now owned by Tommy LaMarca, a Brooklyn native, whose grandfather originally opened the shop in 1926. Rocco Scali has worked at the cutting den since 1958. He found the barber position through an agency after emigrating from Southern Italy at the age of 18.

Rocco Scali by Natalie Brasington

Rocco Scali by Natalie Brasington

One of the shop’s most famous customers was author Truman Capote. Mr. Capote came to the shop in the early 1960’s. He would stop in several times a week after swimming in the St. George Pool. Rocky describes him as “a gentleman”, and recalls Mr. Capote coming to get his hair cut just before leaving for Kansas to interview for his novel “In Cold Blood”.

Thomas LaMarca

Thomas LaMarca by Natalie Brasington

Don’t expect to hear secrets of the rich and famous from either Rocco or Tommy. They are happy to tell you who has been in the shop, show you old pictures, and give you a straight blade shave and warm towel, but as Rocco put it “If I told everything, one of two things would happen. I would be killed or put in jail”. He did however promise that if he were ever on his death bed, and knew for certain he didn’t have more than a week to live, he would tell me everything, and the book I wrote would be a best seller. I have no doubt of that.

Natalie Brasington is a photographer living in Brooklyn.  She’ll be photographing and profiling colorful Brooklyn Heights residents here each month.

Top photo: Evan Kaplan (left) gets a haircut in the 70s at The Cutting Den.

Share this Story:

, , , , ,

  • AEB

    I peak into the shop almost daily en route to work in Manhattan.

    “Arcade” shops such as The Cutting Den take us back to a time of more general mom-and-pop enterprise; those stationed in, well, stations seem particularly tied to another era….though of course their ancestors of today’s malls….

  • hal kaplan

    not evan kaplan he would be 11 years old in 1970.

    but a very good likeness of his ears !

    i need a closer look at his face .


  • Natalie Brasington

    Hi Hall,

    My apologies for any any date confusion. I was told the picture was from 30 years ago.

  • Gerald Kaplan

    Sorry: E

  • Gerald Kaplan

    Sorry. Evan was born in 1973 and the picture of his first haircut was taken when he about 21/2.

  • Evan Kaplan

    What a good looking kid!

  • ann

    Who cares who the kid is, WHAT A GREAT PIECE OF HISTORY!

  • nazimova

    The infamous Rocco Scali.. Boy was he handsome back in the day!! You still are Roc!!

  • John Wentling

    Rocco gave me my very first haircut, probably in 62/63, after my mother got tired of hacking at it. I thought the shop was long gone.

    How’d I miss this?